COVID-19 Pandemic and Lockdown Measures Impact on Mental Health Among the General Population in Italy

Front Psychiatry. 2020 Aug 7:11:790. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00790. eCollection 2020.


Background: The psychological impact of the COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak and lockdown measures on the Italian population are unknown. The current study assesses rates of mental health outcomes in the Italian general population three to 4 weeks into lockdown measures and explores the impact of COVID-19 related potential risk factors.

Methods: A web-based survey spread throughout the internet between March 27th and April 6th 2020. Eighteen thousand one hundred forty-seven individuals completed the questionnaire, 79.6% women. Selected outcomes were post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), depression, anxiety, insomnia, perceived stress, and adjustment disorder symptoms (ADS). Seemingly unrelated logistic regression analysis was performed to identify COVID-19 related risk factors.

Results: Endorsement rates for PTSS were 6,604 (37%), 3,084 (17.3%) for depression, 3,700 (20.8%) for anxiety, 1,301 (7.3%) for insomnia, 3,895 (21.8%) for high perceived stress and 4,092 (22.9%) for adjustment disorder. Being woman and younger age were associated with all of the selected outcomes. Quarantine was associated with PTSS, anxiety and ADS. Any recent COVID-related stressful life event was associated with all the selected outcomes. Discontinued working activity due to the COVID-19 was associated with all the selected outcomes, except for ADS; working more than usual was associated with PTSS, Perceived stress and ADS. Having a loved one deceased by COVID-19 was associated with PTSS, depression, perceived stress, and insomnia.

Conclusion: We found high rates of negative mental health outcomes in the Italian general population 3 weeks into the COVID-19 lockdown measures and different COVID-19 related risk factors. These findings warrant further monitoring on the Italian population's mental health.

Keywords: anxiety; covid-19; depression; mental health; stress; trauma.